Dallas final thoughts

Rich TandlerSenior Analyst ISeptember 28, 2008

I could be wrong—I have been before and I will be again—but I really think that the Redskins have a chance of beating Dallas today. I'm not talking about just your generic "on any given Sunday" chance, but a real "we have arrived and we're going to be a force in this division" chance.

Dealing with Marion Barber will be key. He's going to bounce off of the first tackler with frequency, but the Skins will have to make sure that there's a gang around him to minimize the yardage he picks up after that first contact. Getting a gang around him also could push him to wear down towards the end of the game. Last week was an exception, but he generally averages considerably fewer yards per carry when he gets past 18 or 20 carries than he does earlier in the game. He's as tough as a five-dollar steak, but if the defense pounds on him for the first three quarters of play he won't be quite as fierce at the end of the game.

The Dallas pass rush is another problem for the Redskins. They will get their share of sacks and that's fine as long as the ball stays in Jason Campbell's hand. All turnovers are not created equal. An interception on a deep pass isn't that bad, depending on the situation. The sack, strip, and defensive recovery variety of turnover is much worse. Such a play not only flips field position but it represents a breakdown by the entire offensive unit. An offense often plays tentatively after a disaster like that and the defense is emboldened. That's not a recipe for success for the Redskins on the road.

As I said the other day, Campbell will have to continue his growth in Jim Zorn's system and his development as an NFL quarterback if the Redskins are going to pull this one out. It's just asking too much for the Redskins to pound out long, sustained drives all day long. Sure, the line is going to have to block and the receivers are going to have to run their routes and catch. But it's on Campbell to pull the trigger.

Campbell and the Redskins are almost in a no-lose situations. Of the four possible scenarios—blowout loss, close loss, close win, blowout win—only the first one would be considered a disaster and even that, considering the 11-point spread, wouldn't be a huge blow.

If the Redskins go in and play like they have nothing to lose, they should do OK. Judging by what I've seen from the Redskins under Zorn so far, I think that's exactly what they'll do.